In a recent blog post, I wrote about how to manage a (distracted) mobile team and suggested encouraging employees to cut the cord to their mobile devices when working on a task that requires focus. Now, I'm challenging workers to set mobile device parameters in order to reduce overall phone dependence, improve face-to-face interactions, and maybe, just maybe, get a better night's sleep:
- Go offline. Start small - maybe a block of 20-30 minutes at a time. A great place to start is when you're trying to get a project wrapped up - maybe a new business proposal or a slide deck. Resist the urge to check your phone until you're done writing.
- Go silent. When you hear a new email "ding" you're hardwired to pick up your phone. The temptation is simply too great. Make it easier on yourself and turn off the volume.
- Trust in the phone call. I know people who check their phone incessantly just in case it's the client. Of course, there's always a possibility that an email could come in - at any hour of the day. But if it's truly an emergency, they'll call.
- Get an actual alarm clock. Many people who sleep with, or next, to their phones do so because the phone acts as an alarm. Do yourself a favor and buy an old fashioned alarm clock. Otherwise, you're waking up with your phone already in hand, checking emails, and starting your workday before you've even climbed out of bed.
Continuously checking our phones doesn't prove how busy or important we are, it just shows that we're becoming a work force of distracted, digitally addicted professionals. By putting the phone down for a just a few minutes, we can improve our work output, our mood, and our personal connections.
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